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Varicose Veins: Aesthetic or Health Concern?

It’s tough to miss the telltale signs of varicose veins, and many people seek treatment for aesthetic reasons. These malfunctioning blood vessels can lead to aches, pains, and even itchiness in your legs. Lumpy, bulging varicose veins on your legs might be an eyesore, but are they dangerous? 

Here at Vascular Specialists, our experienced team of vascular surgeons are experts when it comes to improving the health — and appearance — of your veins. If you’re concerned about varicose veins, we can treat them with a variety of minimally invasive options.

Varicose veins 101

Before we explore the complications of varicose veins, let’s first discuss what varicose veins are. Your veins move blood through your body and back to your heart. When your body has to fight against gravity (i.e., travel up your legs toward your heart), one-way valves help keep the blood moving in the right direction. 

However, if your venous valves become damaged or weak, your blood can flow backward and form pools. When these valves malfunction, this condition is called venous insufficiency. Visible lumps and bulges are caused by pools of blood stretching out your veins — this is what you recognize as varicose veins.

Aesthetic concerns

These unsightly twisted blue veins can cause decreased self-esteem and reduce your confidence, and they might even dictate the clothes you wear in an effort to hide them. In addition to the large visible web of varicose veins, these changes to your veins may lead to potentially serious and uncomfortable complications inside your body.

Health concerns 

Many people with varicose veins note achiness or heaviness in their legs. More serious complications can include:

Blood clots

Varicose veins can increase your risk of developing superficial thrombophlebitis, which is a blood clot just under the skin. You may notice:

However, swelling, redness, and tenderness can also indicate a more serious vein issue.

Bleeding close to your skin

If you have both weak vein walls and increased venous pressure, you’re more likely to experience bleeding close to the surface of your skin. In more serious cases, even a gentle bump on your leg can cause bleeding.

Deep vein thrombosis 

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is another type of blood clot. Unlike superficial thrombophlebitis, DVT develops in a deep varicose vein in your calf or thigh. Symptoms of a DVT include cramping, swelling, redness, and tenderness. DVT can increase your risk of a pulmonary embolism.

Pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a blood clot breaks free and travels to your lungs. This can cause shortness of breath, chest pain, and feeling faint.

If you believe you’re suffering from a pulmonary embolism, call 9-1-1. 

Venous skin ulcers

Varicose veins can also lead to ulcers. You might suspect you have an ulcer if you notice a rash, dry skin, discolored skin, or an oozing sore. Ulcers are typically slow-healing, and they can easily become infected if not treated.

Treating varicose veins

Varicose vein treatments can improve the appearance of your legs and — most importantly — reduce your risk of developing health complications. We offer a variety of treatment options, including:

When your varicose veins collapse following these treatments, blood then flows through healthy veins. Your body absorbs the old vein tissue. Your treatment at Vascular Specialists resolves both aesthetic and health concerns of varicose veins. 

Are you ready to take action and get rid of your varicose veins? Call 815-824-4406 to book an appointment at either of our locations — in Tinley Park or Evergreen Park, Illinois. You can also request an appointment online.

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